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September 27, 2022

Around the nation: Biden administration grants $1.5B to combat the opioid crisis

Daily Briefing

    The White House on Friday announced that states and territories will receive $1.5 billion in funding to address the opioid crisis, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, Nevada, and Texas.

    • District of Columbia: The White House on Friday announced that states and territories will receive $1.5 billion in funding to address the opioid crisis—a move that comes after the Biden administration earlier this year sent its first national drug control strategy to Congress. "This funding goes to life-saving programs and policies," said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. "President Biden recognizes the devastating impact the opioid overdose epidemic has had on our nation, reaching large cities, small towns, tribal lands and every community in between," Jean-Pierre added. In addition, FDA on Friday issued updated guidance to expand access to naloxone, marking it exempt from certain requirements under the Drug Supply Chain Security Act. According to the White House, allowing these exemptions "helps to address some of the obstacles that have existed in obtaining access to naloxone, and may help eligible community-based programs acquire FDA-approved drugs directly from manufacturers and distributors." (Knutson, Axios, 9/23; Frieden, MedPage Today, 9/23)
    • Nevada: Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) on Thursday announced that the state is releasing a prescription discount card to help address rising drug costs. The ArrayRX card saves Nevadans an average of 80% on generic prescriptions and up to 20% on name brand prescriptions. According to Sisolak, the card is free for all residents. Individuals with health insurance will be able to compare their costs with the digital card's costs, then choose the cheaper option. "Taking care of yourself and prioritizing your health shouldn't leave you bankrupt," Sisolak said. Separately, Nevada Sen. Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro (D) said the digital card is "another tool in our toolbox to ensure that Nevadans can continue to afford the healthcare that they need and to take care of their families." (AP/Modern Healthcare, 9/23)
    • Texas: The Texas Medical Association (TMA) on Thursday filed a second lawsuit against the federal government's surprise billing arbitration process. According to TMA's lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, an August rule on the independent dispute resolution for surprise medical bills unlawfully favors insurers over providers. "We are, once again, asking for the law to be followed as Congress intended, and for the challenged provisions to be invalidated. There should be a level playing field for physicians and healthcare providers in payment disputes after they've cared for patients," said TMA President Gary Floyd. In a joint statement, the American Hospital Association (AHA) and the American Medical Association (AMA) voiced support for TMA's lawsuit. "Hospitals and doctors strongly believe that no patient should fear receiving a surprise medical bill and that patients should be kept out of the middle of any billing disputes between providers and commercial health insurance companies. The AHA and AMA fully support the lawsuit just filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, which challenges the government's August 2022 final rule regarding the No Surprises Act's independent dispute resolution process," the organizations wrote. (Goldman, Modern Healthcare, 9/22; AHA News, 9/22)

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